Recently, one of Jill’s clients chose to fly on Ethiopian Airlines, a Star Alliance member, en route to Zimbabwe. This may prove to be a popular option for travelers who have need to go to Africa but must avoid Europe due to Covid. If you have any hesitation about flying via Addis, continue reading to see what the experience was like – both on the airline itself and travel in the time of Covid.
It is a perfectly fine carrier. All legs right on time. For what it’s worth, the mysterious 45 minute stop in Dublin on the Addis to Washington return seemed to be a refueling stop. I could not see the actual event from where I was sitting, but we never made it to the terminal. Only trash removal via roll-up stairs.
Modern equipment, I flew on B 787 and A 350. The 787 is in 3-3-3 configuration, no problem getting an aisle seat. (In fact, on my return when the re-booking lead was short, they already took the clue from my outbound leg and gave them to me unasked). They kept the middle seats mostly empty, but then, the plane was only 2/3 full. Meals were airplane food, what can I say. Cabin crew somewhat less attentive (e.g. no routine patrols carrying water and juice) than other airlines I have known.
Addis Ababa is a big modern airport with the usual facilities. Perhaps needs expansion. On the outbound leg (plane change), the reception area was shoulder to shoulder while jostling to get to the cattle runs for passport control. Welcome to a Covid rich environment. No such problem on the return.
Immediately after booking, they invited bids to upgrade (they use 2-class aircraft). Since Business Class was at best 1/4 occupied, I could probably have upgraded at the price of a boiled egg and a sandwich.
No Covid problem transiting through Addis. They only had me fill out a questionnaire (Do you have the following symptoms? Have you been in bed with someone who is sick?). They showed no interest in the negative test certificate I was carrying for Zimbabwe. No questionnaire on the return.
They have an incredibly dense network and seem to fly virtually everywhere in Africa and serve several US cities. My travel time was shorter than it would have been on the old South African route (connecting via Jo’burg), and much shorter than on Emirates via Dubai.
Would not hesitate to use them again.
Thank you to P.F. for your thorough and helpful feedback!
Reach out to Jill today to get your Africa trip on the books – and take advantage of the connection in Addis Ababa with a stopover to explore Ethiopia!
Thank you to Ethiopian Airlines for the images.